Trump supporters are going bananas over the lawful search of the former president's mansion. But only in their asserted "banana republic" would a former president be above the law.
The search was portrayed in a recent letter to the editor as "the first step" in "the disintegration of our democracy" (Readers Write, Aug. 10). Apparently, the writer is unaware that multiple steps of our U.S. Capitol were bloodied when Trump rioters attacked law enforcement officers and sought to defeat our democracy by preventing Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote. This was only one of an avalanche of anti-democratic efforts by the Republican top banana to reverse his landslide defeat. Donald Trump asked the Republican secretary of state in Georgia to "find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have" to overturn the Joe Biden election victory in that state. He planned to send fake electors to Congress after the states had already certified their votes and awarded the electors to Joe Biden. To quote one of the writers: "That is what banana republics do when they are losing their power over the people."
The same writer is appropriately grateful that "we have a justice system that is fair for everybody." The former president's premises were entered pursuant to a search warrant consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A search warrant is issued only after a federal court determines that the entity seeking the warrant has established, under oath or affirmation, probable cause and "particularly describ[es] the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized." According to the Supreme Court, probable cause exists when there is "a fair probability that ... evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place."
The constitutional protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment is not found in a "banana republic" and was adhered to here.
Instead of being driven bananas by the lawful search of a residence, perhaps the writers could ask, "What was the scope of the search warrant?" and, "What items were found and taken from the residence?" The former president possesses the warrant and a receipt for the property taken but has not produced them, preferring confusion to clarity. When he left the White House, he took documents "marked as classified national security information" according to the National Archives. The documents of federal officials, including the president, belong to us, we the people, and not to Donald Trump. We are not his minions. That is how a democracy works.
Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley
Surely, you must know that a U.S. president can declassify any classified document at will at any time ("Following the facts to Mar-a-Lago," editorial, Aug. 10). So, to surmise that Trump may have committed a crime in running off with classified documents is clearly a red herring and a total distraction. A better assumption is that it was a backdoor effort to discover Jan. 6 documents. Would the FBI do such a dastardly deed? I hope not, but its track record is telling. So, let's get to work, journalists of America.
Ron Moquist, Sioux Falls, S.D.
I find it interesting that when police shoot a person for resisting arrest, the "law and order" right respond by saying, "If the victim had been compliant, the shooting could have been avoided." Yet, when Trump's home is searched for documents by the FBI, the "law and order" right is outraged. It seems to me Trump could have avoided that search by simply turning over documents upon leaving office, like every president before him has done.
Robert Doppelhammer, Delano, Minn.
The search warrant executed at the Trump estate serves to confirm what many already suspected. Regardless of the warrant's "legal standing," it confirms we live in an overheated political landscape. The abuse of power by the Democrats is palpable as they pursue Trump in the most sensational means possible. We know that talks over his paper documents were ongoing. There was no reason to swoop in on Mar-a-Lago other than to dramatize Democrats' ability to wield power.
There are two Americas with respect to how well-known political figures are treated. While Trump detractors celebrate the raw power used against Trump, Republicans are taking notes. While some advise a "deep breath," others acknowledge the "deep state" and how it is used against political opponents. The Democrats double standard of justice will undoubtedly continue until the tables are turned after the midterms. Tough talk? Yes, but elections have consequences beyond the normal ebb and flow of politics.
Joe Polunc, Waconia
Two letters in Wednesday's Star Tribune compared the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago to the actions of a "banana republic." Set aside for the moment that "banana republic" is offensive to many. The letter writers conveniently forget the other characteristics of such a country.
With Trump we had a leader who tried to exercise unprecedented control across the federal government. From his direction of the traditionally independent attorney general and Department of Justice to his firing those who disagreed with him or wouldn't follow his potentially illegal commands, he tried to exercise power inconsistent with what democracy demands.
He destroyed or hauled away government documents that he was required to preserve. His family served as his closest advisers regardless of concerns over whether they should receive security clearances. He repeatedly attacked the press. He tried — and is still trying — to overturn a fair election through violence and coercion.
He attempted to settle his personal grievances by having the U.S. Postal Service raise rates for Amazon and trying to block the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger. He encouraged foreign governments to investigate his opponents. He directed government business to property he owned and charged full price. I could go on and on.
My question for the letter writers and anyone still looking to Trump as a leader: Aren't these actions characteristic of the undemocratic countries you look down upon? And isn't holding no one above the law a tenet of a functioning democracy?
David Hansen, Faribault
For that trip, I tip my hat to Pelosi
Politically, I disagree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on almost every issue. However, she deserves a lot of credit for her trip to Taiwan ("Taiwan accuses China of using Pelosi visit as pretext for warmongering," Aug. 10). Unlike the NBA, Hollywood and some major American corporations like Coca-Cola, Pelosi did not cave into Communist Chinese bullying. Communist China is doing everything in its power to curb American interests and influence in the Far East and in Southeast Asia.
Communist China is not a strong competitor to America; it's an enemy. Make no mistake about that. If China does not get its way, it resorts to threats and outright bullying. And in many parts of the world, this intimidation is working. But it must not work in dealing with American interests and our support for free nations like Taiwan. Nobody is looking for a war with China, but there comes a time when strong, free nations like America tell China, which practices genocide against some of its Muslim people, that its bullying must stop. To her credit, Pelosi's visit has firmly sent that message to this rogue nation. Good for her, and for all freedom-loving people throughout the world.
Tom R. Kovach, Nevis, Minn.